Meet the Maker: Philippa Craddock, florist

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Seasonal window display with a mass of flowers, greenery and grasses

Festooning the ceiling of the Dorchester’s ballroom with flowers was a fabulous commission. It was a tremendous project, which involved engineers and a production crew, a vast amount of rigging and an incredible team of florists to fix all the flowers into position. The rigging was lowered so we could add the blooms and create the most magical flower-filled world, which was then raised up and around the room’s chandeliers. It was an extraordinary and beautifully theatrical installation. And at the same time, in the background, Lionel Richie and Kylie Minogue were doing their soundchecks. It’s such a great memory!

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I fell into floristry by accident and I’m self-taught. I initially launched a potted-plant delivery service, which brides and grooms began ordering as unique table-centres. From there, I was asked to supply their bridal flowers, and my business slowly began to evolve. I grew up on the east coast of Scotland, and always loved art and design. In fact, I enjoyed drawing, painting and making at home so much that I thought about going to art college, but in the end I studied a classic MA at university instead. It wasn’t until the birth of our first child that I began focusing on design and creating again. 

Left: Festive staircase design, bringing the outdoors inside Right: Philippa working on a wreath design

I moved from Scotland to London straight from university. London very much became my home, so it was natural to start my business in the city.

My husband and I now have three children, which keeps us both very busy – we spend a lot of time together as a family. We’re surrounded by amazing countryside and love hiking, swimming in the sea, sailing and cooking. My favourite kind of day is a long, busy breakfast with family and friends, followed by being outdoors. We love to travel when we can. Just before lockdown, we were lucky enough to take trips through Costa Rica and the Philippines, both incredible countries that taught us the importance of simplicity and to cherish experiences.

Full Christmas table design with mixed greenery

One of the aspects of my work that I love most is the variety of the day-to-day. Before Covid, my work took me all over the world, both for events and for lecturing and teaching. At the moment, I am more UK-based, which I’m really enjoying. It has been a positive step to slow down a little. Running a small business brings the mix of entrepreneurial tasks, from strategy to marketing to finance; and then on the design side, it involves both hands-on creating and pulling together impactful design documents. But if I wasn’t a florist I don’t think I’d be desk-based; my work might have something to do with the sea – as a child I dreamt of being a marine biologist – perhaps with some form of design as a hobby. Creating and making would still have to be involved somewhere. 

A friend once said to me, “If you know how you’re going to achieve your dream, it’s not big enough.” I try to live by this, enjoying the steps along the way and living in the moment.

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